June 2, 2014

Another $15 UNC team

You have $15 to put together a North Carolina basketball team whose players have been given a value between $1 and $5. What’s your team?

You’ve probably seen this thing on Twitter lately – or heard about it on the radio – about putting together a historic team of college basketball players for $15.

Here’s the idea: Take the five supposed best players at each position in a team’s history, assign the players a dollar value – $5 for the best, $1 for the fifth best – and then build a team that costs a total of $15 (or less). It’s a fun exercise. The website ballislife.com started this with NBA teams (and here’s its iteration for an all-time NBA team).

Then locally, Adam Gold and Joe Ovies over at 99.9 The Fan borrowed the idea. And now I’m stealing it. Adam and Joe -- great guys despite their station’s embargo against local newspaper reporters -- put together $15 teams for Duke and N.C. State and, now, UNC.

Here’s the one they did for Duke. And N.C. State. And here’s the UNC version.

Now, just coming up with a 1-through-5 list of the best UNC players at every position is a difficult task. And as Adam noted in his write-up about the $15 UNC team, he consulted some folks with historic knowledge of UNC basketball. Thus the high value for guys like Mike O’Koren and Larry Miller and others – guys who were great, great players, sure, but who probably go underappreciated by the current generation.

The most noticeable omission, to me, on Adam’s list is Ed Cota. He has to be on there. And as good as Kendall Marshall was during his two years at UNC, I’d put Cota ahead of Marshall. Yes, Marshall rewrote UNC’s records for assists, and broke a lot of Cota’s records in the process. But Cota gets the edge here, to me, because he was a four-year guy and because he stretched his success out over a longer period.

Marshall was fantastic during his season and a half as a starter. But he left – wisely so, for him – when the talent around him left, and so we never got to see Marshall play without an incredibly talented supporting cast. Not that Cota lacked surrounding talent. He played alongside Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter and others. To me it comes down to this, though: Cota helped lead UNC to three Final Fours. Marshall left without reaching a Final Four.

Individually, Marshall set all the records. But Cota’s teams had more success. And yes, if Marshall doesn’t break his wrist, then UNC likely makes the Final Four in 2012. Then again, maybe it doesn’t. We’ll never know. We do know that Cota’s teams reached three Final Fours, and that Jamison and Carter were the players they were, in part, because they had Cota running the offense.

Debates like this are why this can be fun. My $15 team, by the way:

Kendall Marshall, $1

Michael Jordan, $5

Jerry Stackhouse, $2

James Worthy, $5

Brad Daugherty, $2

That’s decent.

Here’s where I steal the idea: The $15 UNC team … of the Roy Williams era. Eligible players: Anyone who has played at UNC under Williams, including current players. I’m taking some liberties here. The 6-foot-9 Marvin Williams at small forward? Why not. He did attempt a wing-like 44 3-pointers during his lone season (and made 19 of them). The list of power forwards and centers also include guys who could play both, and sometimes did.

So here goes …

Point guard:

Ty Lawson, $5

Raymond Felton, $4

Kendall Marshall, $3

Marcus Paige, $2

Bobby Frasor, $1

Shooting guard:

Wayne Ellington, $5

Rashad McCants, $4

P.J. Hairston, $3

David Noel, $2

Marcus Ginyard, $1

Small forward:

Harrison Barnes, $5

Danny Green, $4

Marvin Williams, $3

Reggie Bullock, $2

Jawad Williams, $1

Power forward:

John Henson, $5

Brandan Wright, $4

James Michael McAdoo, $3

Brice Johnson, $2

Deon Thompson, $1


Tyler Hansbrough, $5

Sean May, $4

Tyler Zeller, $3

Ed Davis, $2

Kennedy Meeks, $1

My team:

Paige, $2

Hairston, $3

Bullock, $2

McAdoo, $3

Hansbrough, $5

Basically the 2012-13 UNC team with Tyler Hansbrough at center. Isn’t that what that ’12-13 team lacked all along, anyway? A dominant post presence? Problem solved.

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